05/25/2011, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Peshawar, suicide bomb targets army barracks, six dead and 20 injured

A van was filled with 200 kg of explosives. The three-story building burned to the ground: 150 meters from the U.S. consulate. It is the fourth attack since the death of Osama Bin Laden. Taliban spokesman warns of an "increase in attacks" to avenge his "martyrdom".

Peshawar (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The provisional death toll from the latest Taliban attack on an army barracks in Pakistan is of at least six dead and 20 injured. This morning in Peshawar, north-west of the country, a suicide bomber on board a vehicle packed with explosives – an estimated 200/250 kg - crashed into the three story building, bringing it to the ground. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the act, announcing further massacres in response to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Since the death of the Al Qaeda leader last May 2 in Abbotabad, 60 km north of Islamabad, Islamic extremists have struck Pakistani army or police stations four times. On May 13, a twin bombing on a military center left 90 dead, including several civilians. Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said that they will "increase this type of attack to avenge the martyrdom of Osama Bin Laden."

Today's attack targeted a barracks in a heavily militarized area of Peshawar. The town in the north-west is considered the gateway to the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, the Taliban stronghold and birthplace of the extremist militias. The three-story building was totally destroyed: it is about 150 meters from the U.S. consulate. Police chief Mohammad Ijaz spoke of "a huge explosion" caused by the crash of a small truck, filled with 250 kg of explosives.

Meanwhile, more details are emerging on the fundamentalist militia raid against an army base in Pakistan's Karachi, May 23 last, which killed 11 people (see AsiaNews, 23/05/11 Karachi: Pakistani Taliban attack military base, killing 11). Investigations reveal that the attackers were aided by an accomplice inside the barracks. One official added that members of the commando "seemed foreign”, maybe Uzbeks or Chechens. And their plan was simple and straightforward: to kill and be killed.

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